After a contentious primary, Indiana Republicans nominated businessman and former state legislator Mike Braun to challenge incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly in November’s midterm. The primary election was held on May 8th and Braun received 41.2% of the vote, with Todd Rokita and Luke Messer following at 30% and 28.8% respectively. Here is a map of the results (red=Braun; green=Rokita; gray=Messer):
Ambiguity persisted throughout the duration of the primary, and it was deemed a statistical toss-up by The Cook Political Report, The Rothenberg Political Report, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. I must admit that I was mildly surprised myself; if you’ve been following my election updates you know I was admittedly biased in favor of Rokita who I evaluated as having the most consistent conservative record.
I find myself at a quandary now, having previously been skeptical and even a little critical of Braun. I’ll be frank, Braun isn’t a perfect candidate—neither was Trump for that matter. However, I’m willing to give Braun a chance and offer my cautious support so long as he doesn’t cuck.
The stakes of this midterm election are too high. Politico described this election as “possibly the GOP’s best opportunity to seize a Senate seat from Democrats” and they’re absolutely right. Trump won Indiana by 19 points, the largest margin that any Democrat will face this midterm election, making Donnelly the most vulnerable Democrat in the country.
The most important thing to do moving forward is to break down all the factors which contributed to Braun’s victory in order to understand why he won. This knowledge is necessary for formulating a general election strategy which will not only flip the Senate seat red, but will also push Braun to the right, ensuring that Trump will have an ally while simultaneously advancing our agenda as a movement.
So, what do we know about Mike Braun? He emerged relatively late in the primary as a dark horse candidate, a source of my skepticism toward him. Much like Trump, Braun is a wealthy entrepreneur who drew from his own net worth of $66 million to fund his campaign. Braun accumulated this fortune as the founder and CEO of Meyer Distributing and owner of Meyer Logistics. Braun is also one of Indiana’s largest private landowners, possessing roughly 6,000 acres across nine counties.
In another parallel to Trump, Braun is similarly a political novice whose only significant experience is limited to a brief stint in the Indiana House of Representatives. Braun’s lack of political experience isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it does create uncertainty since he has a minimal track record to reference when predicting how he will legislate. This leaves his campaign rhetoric as the bulk of the information to asses him by, so I’ll be operating on the assumption that he will—for the most part—follow-through once in office. I surmise these parallels with Trump played a role in his primary victory.
According to IndyStar, the Indiana Senate Election is the most expensive election in the country and Braun has clearly made a deep investment in winning. I previously reported on Braun’s campaign finances in order to root out any jewry that may be at work behind the scenes. Fortunately, I didn’t find much of concern and that’s due in large part to Braun self-funding a significant portion of his campaign. Additionally, the super PAC Our Indiana Voice was formed by leadership from the consulting firms Norway Hill Associates, Strategic Impact, and SRCPmedia to spend on behalf of Braun’s campaign. In an attempt to boost his state-wide name recognition, Braun spent heavily on TV and radio ads, which proved effective against his opponents’ hesitation to spend big money.
Mirroring Trump’s campaign, Braun sells himself as a political outsider with the business acumen to work with President Trump to bring economic prosperity to Indiana voters. This branding is shaping up to be an all-around effective campaign which other candidates should take note of. Aside from this, Braun’s style of conservatism leverages his business credentials to emphasis a standard fiscal libertarianism, focusing on economic issues. This is reflected by the following ratings:
• 100% rating from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce
• 91% rating from the Indiana Manufacturers Association
• 92% rating from the American Conservative Union
• 80% rating from Americans for Prosperity
• 94% rating and an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business
In addition to these economic ratings, Braun has received praise from other bastions of conservativism:
• 92% rating and an endorsement from the National Rifle Association
• Endorsed by Indiana Right to Life
Getting more specific on the issues, Braun’s website highlights several key issues to be the centerpieces of his campaign. For the most part it’s all standard GOP staples, but here are the ones we should care about:
• Drain the swamp: “We must pass term limits for politicians now”
• Immigration: “We must act immediately to secure the border by building a wall, crack down on criminal illegal immigrants and the Sanctuary Cities that protect them, end chain migration, and demand that every business verifies the immigration status of its workers”
While Braun may not be /our guy/, he’s certainly preferable to Joe Donnelly, and flipping this Senate seat will be important for maintaining GOP control of Congress. Keeping control of Congress is crucial to preventing any impeachment attempts, which the Democrats will try if given the chance.
As always, its important that we get our people out on the campaign trail this midterm cycle. We can’t be expected to be taken seriously as a voting bloc unless we begin to establish a ground game which rewards candidates we like and punishes those we do not like.
Stay tuned for more articles on the 2018 Indiana Senate Race. Follow me on Twitter and Gab at @populist420. Questions, feedback, or tips can be directed to [email protected]